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Blockchain, or, Peer Production Without Guarantees

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Blockchains are aggregated and distributed databases: shared, chained, and immutable registries that conflate the production of digital tokens with their circulation. At their most basic level, they are technologies for keeping account, or records, of some form of activity, hence they are part of a long lineage of storing data, from clay tablets to bookkeeping. On a technical level, blockchains are peer-to-peer (P2P) structures for distributing and storing data. This chapter begins with a historical consideration of the emergence of peer production, including a reevaluation of the work of Yochai Benkler. It shows that peer production was given coherence as a model of production by being contrasted with two other modes (hierarchies and markets) and through the lens of Benkler's economic liberalism. The chapter distinguishes between four moments or aspects of blockchain initiatives that configure peers in different ways: peer production, peer development, peer governance, and peer exchange.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Handbook of Peer Production
Number of pages16
Place of publicationHoboken
Publication year2021
ISBN (print)9781119537106
ISBN (electronic)9781119537151
Publication statusPublished - 2021

    Research areas

  • Yochai Benkler, blockchains, economic liberalism, peer development, peer exchange, peer governance, peer production, peer-to-peer structures

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